Monday, April 4, 2011

Episode 14: In the Name of the Grandfather

Every time the Simpsons go to a different country, somehow, they always seem to cause controversy in said country whether it be because of stereotypes or just poor portrayal of the country. This doesn't do either, but because of that, it loses humor and is incredibly boring. It does have some moments, but there were so many jokes and rather funny stereotypes it left on the table that the PC writers decided were not "needed". Let's dive into the most sensitive episode of the Simpsons portraying another country ( the SAME SEASON as the Muslim terrorist episode? ......pardon my language, but you HAVE to be *****ing me).

We start off with the family going to a "Home and Garden Show" for Marge and all the family members are disappointed about going there (I love how Homer hates being there, yet he's the one driving). After a pointless scene of the kids and Homer practicing complaining (Not funny), we see the family looking around (And Bart pranking Skinner, wait why is Skinner there? Oh right because Skinner needs to be everywhere). Homer and Marge notice the hot tubs (Small line error: Marge says "What's that soothing sound?" even though all we see are steam clouds and there's no discernible sound for her to listen to). After Carl describes the hot tub as great, Homer asks Marge to get one and Marge agrees (After Bart asks and Lisa spazzes out, nice line read there Yeardley. This time can you say it with talent?). After they get the hot tub (offscreen) they relax for days and days (There's a pointless scene involving swingers coming to the tub as well, it's not funny nor necessary. Next scene!).
Homer accidentally pushed a button that sent them back to 1986
A little bit of nitpicking here, but I really have to wonder why the Simpsons haven't become withered corpses by now. I own a hot tub and, after an hour or so, my body starts to get really hot and I want to get out; just saying it looks like science in particular left the show (Even in "Bart of Darkness" the family left the pool at times. I don't know it's probably something that only bothers me). We then see that the family forgot about Grampa's Senior/Family picnic at the retirement home and Grampa is miserable because they aren't there. Grampa then goes to the house and destroys the hot tub (With a baseball bat no less. What was the tub made of, balsa wood?) because they made him lonely (Yes, destroy a possession that costs thousands of dollars because you felt lonely, great logic there.)(Does this mean I can trash a car because no one will hang out with me?). The fish out of water joke just goes on for a bit too long and becomes unfunny and more like padding (Your season already has enough padding so knock it off). The family wants to make it up to him and Grampa gives Homer a list of things he wants to do before he dies. Homer decides to take him to a pub which Grampa reveals is in Ireland (In a way that's contradictory to their normal method, guess they don't want to be stale and repetitive with their jokes)(They do? ...can we get these writers back?).
Gee, I wonder why?
On the way to Ireland we begin with our leprechaun-like pilots telling the people about what's outside (Including a half-naked Kathy Ireland, classy)(Compared to what else we've seen this season...). Grampa reminisces about when he went to the O'Flanagan's pub which includes taps for beer, corned beef, and cabbage, Grampa doing riverdance through the pub and continuing onto someone's grave (During his tour for WWII, I can assume). As the Simpsons get to Dunkilderry we come to find out that it's not quite the way Grampa remembers it (I felt the same way after watching every new episode of The Simpsons). So essentially all the topical plots that The Simpsons do in America have been transferred to Ireland (I'll be at an Irish pub for a while)(OI! Back here!). As we see more companies with "hilarious" new Irish names (Someone get me a gun) we see that the pub is still there but nobody in the pub is getting drunk (Hey, we Irish (about 1/16th part Irish, but it counts) pride ourselves on being able to get drunker than Germans)(Word! We don't bother with that pansy wine, nosiree! Straight to the scotch! ....wait, we're part German....dude, did we just insult ourselves?).
An empty pub in Ireland? Quick! Someone call Ripley's!
Grampa and Homer stay for a drink and Marge takes the kids to go sightseeing (But not after Bart watches some poorly translated German Krusty, that's funny because...?). At the Giant's Causeway, Bart and Lisa decide to play some Q*Bert with the landmark (I don't get why Lisa's deciding to jump around on a historic landmark, but the scene itself is just underwhelming). Next up is the Guinness factory as we see the family on the tour; Lisa stays behind a little and discovers that Guinness is a combination of bog water and chocolate syrup at a 1:1 ratio (Why does Lisa care so much about the way Guinness is made? Springfield drinks Duff and Lisa's too young to get drunk)(Besides, the bog water adds BITE!). We then go to McEllis Island (Get it? Ellis Island, where all the American immigrants went to? Yeah all the subtlety The Simpsons were known for is gone). We continue on with the Blarney Castle (Is there a plot or were the writers going sightseeing in Ireland and hoping to get paid for it?)(Wouldn't you rather be sightseeing than watching this season?) where we see Bart spray-paint his ass gray to fool people into kissing his own ass instead of the stone. It backfires as we see Irish Nelson carve his initials in Bart's ass (Is there a Chinese Nelson and a German Nelson as well?). We finally get back to the plot as we see Homer and Grampa get drunk and start acting up in the pub (We even get a token joke about Mona's death, charming).

Here is a small collection of pictures from the writer staff's recent vacation
The next morning it turns out that Homer and Grampa bought the pub from O'Flanagan and are shown pictures as proof (Viva Ned Flanders much?) As Homer and Abe try to run the pub they find business is hard to get in sober Ireland (Just move five miles east, you'll get plenty of business). After the family find out they've run out of landmarks (Translation; we don't have any more filler), we cut back to Homer as he calls Moe to help him run the pub. Moe suggests that they allow something that isn't allowed in the rest of sober Ireland, they find out that smoking in pubs is not allowed and create a "Smokesie" that allows them to smoke indoors (Oh topical humor where would we be without you? A better episode? You kid). I might stretching here by comparing two things that aren't the same but  in Maryland (At least), if a bar can prove they're losing business because their customers can't smoke, they can appeal to the government and can be given a permit that allows the customers to smoke indoors. Eh it's comparing apples to oranges I know, but I just wanted to state that fact (Or is it? back in a bit, researching Irish law).
And now for something completely normal; an unfunny scene
The police show up in a raid and take down the pub and arrest Homer and Abe. At prison (With a sign indicating Colin Farrell's status, that's not funny), Abe apologizes to Homer but Homer is optimistic they will get out (While making fun of the Yankees in a joke that didn't even make sense then, since the Yankees were strong in 2008-2009. Topical humor may not work all the time, but it still needs to make sense in the time period). At the court hearing (With Judge Mr. Potato Head of all people, oh please end this) Homer makes a terrible argument but the punishment is deportation and a small fine (I'm assuming the deportation is because they aren't citizens, but they were tourists, not illegal immigrants). We end this with Wiggum coming in (Because the judge said they deported all nitwits to America and they became police officers) and make a complete fool of himself into the credits (Ah yes, have Wiggum act like an even bigger idiot then he already is, worked wonders for Homer... wait)

Final Judgment: This episode is rather boring. The writing isn't terrible, but it's nothing decent either. the jokes are rather dull and bland. The plot was actually rather interesting in concept, but boring scene after boring scene interlaced with the filler that was the writer's vacation just made the story dull. I really feel that after the Brazil episode the writers decided to try to be a bit more sensitive when it came to the family traveling, but it really limits the jokes and humor. There were so many times I saw places where a good stereotype could have been placed for a joke.

Final Grade: 4.0/10 Just pretty bland and forgettable, but not painful
(I'll be, smoking IS banned in Irish pubs since 2004 - oh, next review!)

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